Just prior to our wonderful 25th Pastoral Anniversary journey one of my friends and long time MCA member, Selma (Bobbie) Harbour, died with over 91 years on planet earth under her belt. What a marvelous woman of Christ-like character and love! Bobbie leaves a legacy of love for God and people.
Following is a brief memoir of her life prepared by her family.
Anchorage resident Selma Bertha Koehler “Bobbie” Harbour, 91, died Feb. 19, 2009, in Anchorage. She passed to heaven, her family wrote, when her heart failed after nearly 92 years of service to her family, friends and many other beneficiaries of her prayer, devoted work and gifts. Bobbie follows her beloved husband, Col. Dave Harbour of Sports Afield and outdoor book writing fame, who died following a successful spring turkey hunting trip in 1988. A year later, Bobbie moved from their home in Hawaii to Anchorage to be near her son, Dave, his wife, Nancy, and their son, Billy. She had two other cherished sons, Doug of Lamar, Colo., and James of Statesboro, Ga. She enjoyed her five grandchildren, Todd, Ben, Billy, David Lee and Stacy, and four great-grandchildren, Alex, Ashleigh, Ryan and Reece.
During her 20 years in Anchorage, she lived at Cedar Crest Condominiums, Chester Park Cooperative and most recently, at the Anchorage Pioneers’ Home.
Bobbie was born of German immigrants into a North Braddock, Pa., farm life on June 2, 1917. Her parents, Julius and Martha Koehler, managed to put Bobbie, her five sisters and a brother through college during the Great Depression era. They survived most of those pre-war years without the benefit of electricity, running water or paved roads. After attending Allegheny College in Meadville, Bobbie earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of North Carolina Greensboro campus in 1938 and later assisted Dave in producing hundreds of book and magazine manuscripts using a manual, Underwood typewriter, for over four decades.
An English and Latin teacher, she taught students in Honolulu from her graduation until Dec. 7, 1941. Bobbie and Dave married in Honolulu on Dec. 13, following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and he was soon assigned as a fighter pilot to New Guinea, flying P-38, P-39 and P-40 aircraft. In a 20-year Air Force career, he received many awards for valor in combat and for distinguished service. Soon after their marriage, Bobbie moved to Coleman, Texas, to bear her first son, David III, in September 1942.
Bobbie served the Lord from her marriage in 1941 until her death and developed or supported Bible study groups in Alaska, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii and Virginia. She delighted in attending the sermons and hearing the tapes produced by the Rev. Kent Redfearn of Muldoon Community Assembly.
Family members will conduct a ceremony in Honolulu at Punchbowl, the National Cemetery of the Pacific, where Bobbie will be laid to rest at her husband’s side on March 16.